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Hot Club of Cowtown

Continental Stomp – 2003 (HighTone)

Reviewed by Robert Wooldridge

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CDs by Hot Club of Cowtown

Though comparatively small, the trio Hot Club Of Cowtown produces a large sound. Recorded mostly live at the Continental Club in Austin, this is the first live disc to be released by the band that formed in 1996. Hot Club also revisits classics, though with a stronger emphasis on jazz.

Standards such as "Pennies From Heaven," "After You've Gone" and "I Can't Give You Anything But Love," as well as the studio cut "I Can't Believe You're In Love With Me, Baby," are straight ahead jazz. Unlike the AATW disc this is not presented in true concert form, with fades in between the cuts and little interaction between the band and the audience. One of the exceptions is "Orange Blossom Special" which violinist/singer Elana Fremerman introduces by saying her father insisted it be on the record.

In addition to Fremerman's impressive fiddling, guitarist Whit Smith and bassist Jake Erwin also shine. Vocally Fremerman is something of a female Fred Astaire, while Smith is a cross between Harry Nilsson and Lonnie Donegan.

With these outstanding efforts veterans Asleep At The Wheel and relative newcomers Hot Club Of Cowtown do their part to keep western swing vital.